About Us: Patient Rights & Responsibilities
Altoona Regional Health System respects and supports the basic human, civil, constitutional and statutory rights of patients. Altoona Regional Health System provides care, treatment and services to patients within its capability and mission, and in compliance with law and regulation.
The safety of health care delivery is enhanced when patients, as appropriate, are partners in the health care process. Patients and their families, therefore, have responsibilities when they are utilizing the hospitalís services. Attached is a copy of Altoona Regional Health Systemís ďPatient Rights & Responsibilities,Ē which is provided to all inpatients and outpatients at Altoona Regional Health System to advise them of their rights and responsibilities as our patients. This is reviewed and updated yearly or as necessary to protect those rights and responsibilities.
Altoona Regional Health System is an integrated health care delivery system that helps to ensure that our patientsí total needs are met across the continuum of care. This health care delivery system includes traditional inpatient and outpatient hospital services currently provided at the Altoona Hospital Campus. Outpatient Surgery is provided in the Ambulatory Surgery Center, located on the Altoona Hospital Campus. Various outpatient services, to include imaging, physical medicine, laboratory, sleep lab, neurology, cardiac rehab, surgical pre-testing and HealthForce (occupational medicine), are located off-site at the Station Medical Center. Home nursing care is provided by our corporate affiliate, Home Nursing Agency, through a subsidiary located off campus. Durable home medical equipment is provided through our subsidiary, Home Health Resources, and outpatient pharmacy services are provided by our subsidiary, Kopp Pharmacy, both of which are located off campus. Inpatient rehabilitation services are provided via a joint venture with HealthSouth.
Patients who understand and participate in their health care usually achieve better outcomes. Altoona Regional Health System is committed to providing you, our patient, with high-quality medical care. The hospitalís vision and values give rise to our mission. We are guided by our Ethical Standards.
The hospital will follow all laws and regulations with respect to your rights as a patient. Patient rights are based on mutual trust and respect between patient and caregiver. If you are receiving mental health care at the hospital, there are additional rights that are afforded to you, and this department will provide information to you concerning those specific rights.
As a patient, you are entitled to be informed of your rights while receiving care at Altoona Regional Health System. Included in this brochure is a statement on Privacy and Confidentiality. It explains your rights and responsibilities. In addition, Altoona Regional Health System will provide you with our Notice of Privacy Practices to further explain your privacy rights and how your health information will be used. This information is provided to you upon each admission and outpatient service.
Privacy and ConfidentialityEvery patient, regardless of age, retains certain rights to privacy. Thus, case discussion, consultation, examination and treatment are considered confidential and should be conducted discreetly. Assessments, consultations, examinations and treatments of newborn or pediatric patients are conducted as discreetly as possible and in a manner designed to respect the privacy of both the parent and the child.
We recognize that medical information about our patients is personal. We are committed to maintaining the privacy of the medical information that we create, receive and maintain on behalf of our patients. We use patient health information for routine treatment, payment and operational purposes. For most other uses of patient health information, we will obtain the patientís written authorization prior to releasing information. Please refer to our Notice of Privacy Practices for more detailed information on our privacy practices and the rights that you have concerning your health information. A Notice should have been provided to you upon admission. If it was not, or you need another copy, please request it from a staff member, and they will be able to obtain a copy for you.
InformationPatients are entitled to effective communication with their health care team members. Patients are entitled to be informed of their medical condition in a timely manner as appropriate to their medical condition, including diagnosis, prognosis, proposed treatment, alternate modes of treatment, possible complications, possible results if the patient decides not to be treated and unanticipated outcomes. If it is not feasible to give such information to you, the information will be given to your authorized decision maker. This is especially true when the patient does not have the mental or physical capacity to make care decisions, or when the patient is a child. When the patient cannot make decisions regarding his or her care, an authorized decision maker is identified, which may be a family member, broadly defined to include friends and same-sex partners. In the case of an unemancipated minor, the parent or legal guardian is responsible for consenting to the care prescribed. The patient has the right to exclude any or all family members from participating in his or her care decisions.
The hospital will provide to parents access to all information contained in their childís medical record, unless access is specifically restricted by the attending physician for medical reasons or the access is otherwise prohibited by law.
Patients, the patientís family/authorized decision maker (if appropriate) and parents in the case of newborn and pediatric patients are also entitled:
ParticipationAs a patient, the patientís authorized decision maker (if appropriate) or parent in the case of newborn and pediatric patients, you are entitled:
The hospital, through its Case Management Department, provides information to patients who do not have an advance directive but may wish to formulate one. If you provide a copy of your advance directive to the hospital, it will be maintained with your medical record for each current admission. We will do our best to honor your wishes.
You may file a complaint with the state survey and certification agency if you believe the hospital has not complied with this advance directive requirement.
Respect and DignityPatients of all ages are entitled to be treated by competent personnel with consideration, respect and recognition of your individuality and personal needs.
The patient, the patientís family and/or parent of a newborn or pediatric patient has the right to support services and an environment which will assist in meeting his/her social, emotional and spiritual needs during illness.
Patients who desire private telephone conversations have access to space and telephones appropriate to their needs and the care, treatment and services provided.
If it is necessary to restrict a patientís access to communication (visitors, mail, telephone calls or other forms of communication) as a component of a patientís care in order to prevent injury or deterioration in their health, infringement on the rights of others, etc., the patient or the patientís authorized decision maker (if appropriate) will be included in any such decision.
Quality CareYou have the right to medically appropriate services without discrimination based on race, ethnicity, age, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. A patient is entitled to quality care and high professional standards, which are continually maintained and reviewed. Decisions regarding the provision of ongoing care, treatment, services or discharge are based on the care, treatment and services required by the patient.
In addition, you may expect good management within Altoona Regional Health System that is concerned with your comfort and convenience. You may expect emergency procedures to be implemented without unnecessary delay.
However, scheduling of procedures and treatment of patients in an emergency setting will be prioritized by medical need rather than by time of arrival. Scheduling of non-emergency procedures, including surgery, is designed to maximize efficient delivery of care and may necessarily involve delay for some patients. Every effort will be made to avoid inconveniencing our patients.
Physician RightsWhile the hospital has an open admission policy, it acknowledges that physician members of the staff are independent practitioners who may decide not to accept a non-emergent/elective patient, subject, however, to requirements of the Medical Staff Rules & Regulations, Section V, Subsections 5.5. and 5.6, which state:
ď5.5 All physicians who are scheduled to be available on call to provide services to unassigned patients in the Emergency Department shall accept all patients coming to the Emergency Department who are determined to need the services of the on-call physician, regardless of the patientís race, color, creed, national origin, gender, religion, ability to pay or third-party payer involved.
ď5.6 It is the responsibility of any physician on the on-call schedule to either be personally available to evaluate and treat patients when scheduled or to arrange for coverage by another physician who is a member of the medical staff with appropriate clinical privilegesÖĒ
Grievance MechanismPatients, the patientís family and parents in the case of newborn and pediatric patients are encouraged to share a grievance (i.e., injury, injustice or wrong that gives grounds for a complaint) with a member of Altoona Regional Health Systemís staff or an agency or regulatory body with jurisdiction over the hospital or through a representative of your choice, without being subjected to coercion, discrimination, reprisal or unreasonable interruption of care, treatment and services.
The individual may submit a written or verbal grievance to the president/ CEO of the hospital or individual in charge of the area wherein the grievance initiates. An acknowledgment letter will be sent by the hospital staff member who receives the grievance within seven working days to the patient/family member. A written response will be provided the patient/family member, along with the name of the hospital contact person, the steps taken on behalf of the patient to investigate the grievance, the results of the grievance process and the date of completion. If the situation is not resolved within the seven days, then the acknowledgment letter will advise the complainant that a final written resolution letter outlining the steps taken to resolve the issue will be sent within thirty days. If the complainant files a grievance regarding care provided by Behavioral Health Services, then the grievance and appeal mechanisms outlined in the Behavioral Health Servicesí departmental Standard of Practice will be adhered to.
In the event that the patient/family member wishes, they have the right to lodge a grievance with the appropriate state survey agency:
Division of Acute & Ambulatory Care
Johnstown Field Office
184 Donald Lane, Suite 2
Johnstown, PA 15904
Central Hotline # 1.800.254.5164
In the event that the patient/family has any concerns about patient care and safety in the hospital that have not been addressed by hospital management, he or she is encouraged to contact The Joint Commission Office of Quality Monitoring as follows:
via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org